May 22, 2019

Duckworth, Durbin, Feinstein, Van Hollen, Shaheen, Smith and Kelly Reintroduce Legislation to Train Students for High-Skill Jobs


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN), along with U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), reintroduced legislation to make education more affordable for students pursuing degrees in high-skill industries. The bill will help businesses fill vacant, good-paying positions with qualified candidates. The Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (CC2C), which Duckworth has previously introduced, would support innovative partnerships between technical colleges, community colleges and businesses that train students for careers in high-demand fields. This legislation builds off of successful public-private partnerships like the Zurich Insurance Apprenticeship at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, that trains workers for jobs in high-skill industries like advanced manufacturing, health care, clean energy and information technology.

“Far too many of our nation’s best and brightest are struggling to find good-paying jobs at the same time that many businesses are searching for qualified candidates for their unfilled positions,” Duckworth said. “Investing in our community colleges in Illinois and around the country can help bridge this divide and prepare more hard-working Americans for 21st Century jobs. I’m proud to re-introduce this legislation to help increase access to high-quality, affordable education programs.”

“Community colleges are high-quality, affordable options for students to receive the training they need to get good paying jobs.  Investing in community colleges will help students make better lives for themselves and their families and grow American businesses.  I’m proud to join Senator Duckworth and my colleagues to introduce this bill today,” Durbin said.

“Too many students graduate from college and struggle to find good-paying jobs. This bill builds on what we know works: public-private partnerships that train students for the highly skilled jobs that businesses are struggling to fill. It’s a win-win for local businesses and students studying at community colleges. By bringing together employers and community colleges – and reducing education costs for students – this bill will help make sure students are being prepared for the kind of jobs that await them after graduation,” said Senator Feinstein.

“As I visit manufacturing and engineering businesses in Maryland, I hear the same refrain: they’re looking for more skilled workers. That is why I have worked to expand apprenticeship and job training programs. This common-sense proposal will provide students with the experience they need to succeed and ultimately fill those jobs. We will keep working to support skills-based training programs that help our students and businesses thrive,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Closing the skills gap and expanding our workforce requires a multi-faceted approach, which is why this common-sense legislation to empower community college students with necessary skill sets to compete globally in the 21st century economy is so important,” said Senator Shaheen. “By making wise and much-needed investments in our community colleges, we can ensure more Americans have the opportunity to succeed in the modern economy. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation.”

“Minnesota businesses and manufacturers are having trouble finding workers with the right skills,” Sen. Smith said. “This common-sense bill would invest in one of our key engines of mobility, our community and technical colleges, by expanding something that we know works: job-training partnerships between colleges and local businesses.”

“I often hear from Chicagoland manufacturers and business leaders that they simply cannot find workers with the right skills for their open jobs. By using successful programs throughout the Second District as a model, the Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act takes what’s working and expands it nationwide,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “By empowering businesses and community colleges to work hand-in-hand, we can ensure a pipeline of career-ready graduates with the necessary skills to succeed in and find good, local jobs.”

The Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act (CC2C) will help reduce education costs for students, fill jobs, and increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy. The bill will create a competitive grant program to support more partnerships between two-year colleges and businesses. These partnerships will focus on valuable job training-related efforts, such as registered apprenticeships, on-the-job training opportunities, and paid internships for low-income students that allow them simultaneously to earn credit for work-based learning in a high-skill field. The legislation is endorsed by the National Skills Coalition, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), Third Way and the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition.

“Many community colleges already partner with businesses to expand high-quality training opportunities for students, but targeted federal funding for these partnerships has been lacking since the expiration of the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program in FY 2014,” said Katie Brown, senior federal policy analyst at National Skills Coalition. “We applaud Senator Duckworth for introducing the Community College to Career Fund in Higher Education Act to support and scale the efforts of industry partnerships so that more students and employers can succeed in today’s economy.”

Duckworth has been a long-time advocate of making college more affordable and closing the skills-gap. Last month, she introduced the America’s call to Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act, which builds on her 21st Century American Service Act, to expand opportunities for service across the country, rewarding those who completed two terms of service with an education benefit equivalent to four years of the average in-state tuition at a public, four-year college.